As the year 2010 begins, communicators and the like prepare for the year by listing trends for the new decade, industry reports and predictions, and resolutions that will change our way of business. Though I will touch on some predictions of my own, I think it is more pertinent as to how people will behave for the next few years. With the increase of clutter in our media channels, people are doing less due diligence of their own, therefore thinking and solving less problems for themselves. Below is my list of pros and cons about people thinking less.
1. For Communicators- The Exponential Power of the Opinion Leader/Influencer
When one is crafting a message, the number one element to keep in mind is to whom the message is for. As people dilute their channels, they are relying on people they trust so there is no heavy-lifting on their part. Being able to identify and develop a relationship with an opinion leader is crucial. With people thinking less for themselves, finding those people that tell others what to think will help streamline your message, therefore making it more cost-efficient for you and your client.
2. Having a Captive Audience
Once you have the attention of the opinion leader, the audience is yours. Like an author going on Oprah promoting a certain book, it is highly likely that the rest of the books by that author will receive attention from Oprah’s Book Club. In that same light, your additional messages will be warmly received with much less marginal effort.
3. Not the “Right” way, or “Wrong” way, it’s “Your” way
As long as you stay on the same page with the opinion leader, you get the power to develop a sense of group mentality. Create, mold, or maintain an image for a group. And depending on the situation and/or message, that isn’t necessarily a good or bad thing. In fact, you and your opinion leader would get to choose whether you think if it is in fact good or bad.
1. Death to Creativity
On a societal note, with people relying on others to cut through the clutter for them, so much creative material is left in the dark. Off the wall ideas, new thoughts, different opinions are all thrown to the wind because a certain few deem them as “ridiculous.” What happened to the fabled Commonplace for Ideas? Does that circle have a guest list now?
For our millions of communities to prosper, we got to encourage these opinion leaders to stop hogging the limelight and let others shine from time to time.
2. Free Riders/Groupthink
And like free enterprise, letting opinion leaders pioneer a message allows people to just join a cause regardless of their knowledge of it, or their acceptance of it (i.e. 2004 election, 2007-2009 financial collapse, Nancy Grace).
We. Need. to. THINK.
As a communicator, having a small number of people to relay a simple message to all my audiences would be sweet. But as an advocate for prospering communities, and a lover of new ideas, limiting access to the steering is not only harmful, but stupid. We got to 2010 because people were not afraid to think; and people weren’t afraid of telling others that they were thinking. The past decade’s themes of political correctness, conformity, and conservatism cannot be repeated. More of the same will set our society back tremendously.
Think about it.